LIKE THE HOLY ONE WHO CALLED (invited)
YOU: alla kata ton kalesanta
humas hagion: APM:
(1Peter 2:9; 5:10; Ro 8:28, 29, 30; 9:24; Php 3:14; 1Th 2:12;
4:7; 2Ti 1:9; 2Pe 1:3,10) (Isa 6:3; Rev 3:7; 4:8; 6:10)
Be not only moral, upright,
truthful, and so forth; but “be ye holy.” That is a very high
attainment: “Be ye holy;” and observe the reason for obedience
to the command: “for I am holy.” Children should be like their
fathers, there are many children who bear, in their very faces,
evidence, of their sonship; you know who their fathers were by
the image that the children bear. Oh, that it were always so
with all the children of God: “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” See your model. See the copy
to which you are to write. You are far short of it. Try again.
May the power of Jesus rest upon you, and may he that hath
wrought us to the self-same thing to which we have attained
continue to work in us till we are like our Lord himself!
But is a
conjunction marking a strong contrast.
What is being contrasted?
Like is a
term of comparison
- whenever you encounter a "like" or an "as" or a clear
metaphor, pause and ask what the inspired text is comparing. In
this case Peter
points his readers to the perfect pattern to pursue in order to
produce personal holiness - "like the Holy One".
One caveat - Peter is not using "like" in this instance to introduce a
comparison of equals but to indicate the divine standard for
holiness. God is the Model of all holiness. Isn't it true that
we tend to behave like those we associate with? So too, our
close association with Him Who is holy can only serve to awaken
in us a sense of our need for His holiness. God is holy in all
His ways. If we are to be like Him, we must be holy in all that
we do and say. In this life we will never be as holy as He is,
but we should be holy because He is.
Albert Barnes adds that
"It is a great truth, that
people everywhere will imitate the God whom they worship. They
will form their character in accordance with his. They will
regard what he does as right. They will attempt to rise no
higher in virtue than the God whom they adore, and they will
practice freely what he is supposed to do or approve. Hence, by
knowing what are the characteristics of the gods which are
worshipped by any people, we may form a correct estimate of the
character of the people themselves; and, hence, as the God who
is the object of the Christian's worship is perfectly holy, the
character of His worshipers should also be holy. And hence,
also, we may see that the tendency of true religion is to make
people pure. As the worship of the impure gods of the pagan
moulds the character of the worshippers into their image, so the
worship of Yahweh moulds the character of His professed friends
into His image, and they become like him. (Barnes Notes on the
Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy, holy, holy! Lord
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.
Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!
This majestic Name of God is found some 56 times in Scriptures,
most uses in the OT and often with the appendage "of Israel". (Click for these 56 occurrences 29 of which are in
Isaiah! (Note that the uses in Daniel refer to an angel not God). This
would make a great devotional study. Read the passages in
context and make a list of the truths you discover about the "Holy One".)
Clarke notes that "Heathenism
scarcely produced a god whose example was not the most
abominable; their greatest gods, especially, were paragons of
impurity; none of their philosophers could propose the objects
of their adoration as objects of imitation. Here Christianity
has an infinite advantage over heathenism. God is holy, and he
calls upon all who believe in him to imitate his holiness; and
the reason why they should be holy is, that God who has called
them is holy" (Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible,
pattern, not our lusts. As John Calvin notes Peter "reasons from
the end for which we are called. God sets us apart
as a peculiar people for Himself. Then (it follows) we ought to
be free from all pollutions."
- "On the cross of
Calvary God demonstrated the two great avenues of His character:
Love and Holiness. Being a holy God, He had to
punish sin. Being a God of great love and mercy, He took the
punishment of sin upon himself by allowing his only Son to die
in our place (Ro 5:8-9).
And these two great qualities of Love and Holiness
should so be the two great distinguishing features of our lives.
For this reason James penned the words; "Pure and undefiled
religion (i.e. true spirituality) before
God and the Father is
this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (love)
and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (holiness).
James 1:27 (note)"
loves the concept of calling. We are called
to be holy (1Pe 1:15). We are called “out of
darkness into His marvelous light” (1Pe 2:9). We are called to suffer and follow Christ’s example of meekness
(1Pe 2:21). In the midst of persecution, we are called
“to inherit a blessing” (1Pe 3:9). Best of all, we are
called to “His eternal glory” (1Pe 5:10). God
called us before we called on Him for
salvation. It is all wholly of grace. In the second letter Peter
wrote that we Jesus has "called us by His own glory and
excellence" (2Peter 1:3) and because of our holy status
positionally, we are to be about the business of making "certain
about His calling and choosing" us. (2Peter 1:10).
(kaleo) (See word study of related verbal
= the called and also
klesis) means to call
aloud, to utter in a loud voice, to call to someone in order
that he may come or go somewhere as a shepherd calls his flock.
A distinctive use of kaleo in the New Testament is
to call a person for a definite purpose. Hence, as used in this
context, kaleo is synonymous with to select
Call, Calling - Baker's
Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
Call, Calling - Holman Bible Dictionary
Call, Calling - Hastings' Dictionary of
the New Testament (discusses "Call" in OT)
Call, Called, Calling - Hastings'
Dictionary of the New Testament
Call - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological
and Ecclesiastical Literature
Call of God, the - Torrey's Topical
Kaleo refers to the act of calling someone so
that he may hear, come, and do that which is incumbent upon him.
And so kaleo becomes a technical term for special
relationships. In secular Greek it was used of a summons in the
law courts (that's a "special relationship" we'd rather not
experience!). On the positive side, kaleo in the New Testament
denotes a call from God or
in God’s Name, a call to participate in the revelation of grace.
Paul’s use of kaleo in general suggests that he only
considered those called who obeyed the divine summons. Of a
rejected call he never speaks.
At the beginning of His
earthly ministry Jesus "saw two other brothers, James the son
of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their
father, mending their nets; and He called them." (Mt
4:21) Notice that here Jesus only called James and
John, not Zebedee. Mark says "And immediately He called them;
and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired
servants, and went away to follow Him." (Mk 1:20) Paul testifies that "when it pleased God,
who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me
through His grace," (Gal 1:15).
Paul explains to Timothy that
has saved us and called
us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in
Christ Jesus before time began. (2Ti 1:9-note).
As kaleo is used in the
present context it refers to the divine call of God to a
participation in salvation.
The writer of Hebrews identifies believers as
(sharers, we are participants in the grand enterprise of
redemption and restoration, God has granted us rights and
privileges that should boggle our mind and motivate a heavenward
behavior!) of the heavenly calling.
Holy Brethren does not mean that we are
sinless, but we certainly should sin less.
In the next
chapter Peter reminds his readers of their identity and purpose
you are A
CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A
HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may
proclaim (Because we are partakers, sharers of a heavenly
calling, we have the great privilege of being able to tell
others of the "pearl of great price"! Are you redeeming the
time, on alert each day for a lost one to whom you can proclaim
Christ's excellencies or a brother in need of a reminder and
encouragement that the best is yet to come?) the excellencies of Him who has called you out
of darkness into His marvelous light (cp Col 1:13-14, Acts
26:16-18) (1Pe 2:9-note).
this truth about calling, prayerfully encouraging his suffering
readers asking that
the God of all grace, Who called
us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered
a while" might "perfect, establish, strengthen, and
settle you. (1Pe 5:10-note).
Peter used the
klesis in a similar way in his second epistle writing
brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His
calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these
things, you will never stumble. (2Pe 1:10-note)
called are those
who have been summoned by God...called...
are those who have been summoned by God...called...
according to His purpose (Romans
to salvation (Romans 8:30-note)
saints by calling
both Jews and Greeks
having been called "with a holy" (2 Timothy 1:9-note)
heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1-note)
out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9-note)
to walk worthy (Ephesians 4:1-
not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles (Romans 9:24-note)
through the "gospel" that we "may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus
and be brought "into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord"
and return in triumph "with Him" at the end of this age (Revelation
truths on "called" should cause all the "called
of Jesus Christ" to
cry out "Glory!"
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD
by Fanny Crosby
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!
Sing, O ye people, gladly adore Him;
Let the mountains tremble at His word;
Let the hills be joyful before Him;
Mighty in wisdom, boundless in mercy,
Great is Jehovah, King over all.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!
Let the hills be joyful before Him.
Praise Him, praise Him! shout aloud for joy,
Watchman of Zion, herald the story;
Sin and death His kingdom shall destroy;
All the earth shall sing of His glory;
Praise Him, ye angels, ye who behold Him,
Robed in His splendor, matchless, divine.
King eternal, blessèd be His Name!
So may His children gladly adore Him;
When in Heav’n we join the happy strain,
When we cast our bright crowns before Him;
There in His likeness joyful awaking,
There we shall see Him, there we shall sing:
HOLY YOURSELVES ALSO: kai autoi hagioi en pase anastrophe genethete
(Mt 5:48; Lk 1:74,75; 2Co 7:1; Ephesians 5:1,2; Phil 1:27;
2:15,16; 1Th 4:3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Titus 2:11, 12, 13, 14; 3:8,14;
Heb 12:14; 2Pe 1:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
Holiness-J C Ryle - "considered the best book on the Christian life
to Be Holy" by Ron Dunn
Jehovah Mekeddeshem: The LORD Who Sanctifies ("Makes
The Attributes of God - His Holiness
Why Would Anyone Want to be Holy?
- Radio Bible Class
Word Studies: Holiness:
hagiasmos / Holy:
hagios / Holy (One)
Sermon on the Mount Jesus called for a response based
upon what He had been teaching...
of conclusion) you are to be
perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:48-note)
Mark it down - This command to holiness is impossible in our own strength.
However what God commands He enables us to
accomplish. This is a major objective of Jesus in His Sermon on the
Mount. He sought to lead the hearer (and us as
readers) to a sense of spiritual bankruptcy which
recognizes the need for a Savior (and His indwelling Spirit), Who
Alone can empower us to "be perfect and holy".
The daily prayers in
the Jewish synagogue stressed holiness to God, and so the call
to holiness would have been familiar to Peter's Jewish readers
as well as to Gentiles who had learned Scripture from them.
MacArthur has these pertinent observations regarding
holiness in the modern church...
People have often asked me,
“Why is the church in America, even the evangelical church, so
unholy?” The issue isn’t necessarily that we have preached the
wrong message but that we have neglected its implementation in
the lives of the people. We have said in effect, “As long as the
sermon is right doctrinally, we really don’t care what you do.”
But you can’t raise children in permissiveness that punishes
only by reasoning with them. (From his introduction to the topic
of Church Discipline - MacArthur, J. The Master's plan for the
church. Page 235. Chicago: Moody Press. 1991)
J.C. Ryle, the renowned and
godly Anglican bishop and expositor in nineteenth-century
England, wrote a book of biographical sketches on the ministries
of great British Christian leaders such as George Whitefield,
John Wesley, and Daniel Rowlands. At the beginning of his
compilation, Ryle offers this telling overview:
They taught constantly the
inseparable connection between true faith and personal holiness.
They never allowed for a moment that any church membership or
religious profession was the proof of a man’s being a true
Christian if he lived an ungodly life. A true Christian, they
maintained, must always be known by his fruits; and those fruits
must be plainly manifest and unmistakable in all relations of
life. “No fruits, no grace,” was the unvarying tenor of their
preaching. (Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century,
[Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1978 reprint], 28) (from MacArthur,
J. 1997. The Power of Integrity: Page 39. Wheaton, Ill.:
(ginomai) is not the verb of being, but of “becoming.”
It means to enter a new state..."to become" ..."to become
holy." The verb is
aorist imperative which
is a command calling for a decisive action, even
implying a sense of urgency. Beloved holiness is not optional
for believers. Modern day evangelicals seldom even discuss this
crucial topic. The church must return to her roots and wake up
to the fact that the Holy God is calling His Bride to engage
herself in the pursuit of righteous acts, thoroughly embracing
His call to be holy, passionately pursuing after it - and yet
always (and only) in deep
dependence upon His transforming grace ministered by His
sanctifying (setting apart, making holy) Holy Spirit. Beloved, as we watch our culture inextricably sinking into
the abyss of ungodliness, it is urgent for us to let the
holy light of Jesus shine forth to those around us that they
might see His "Lighthouse", before they crash into
the eternally deadly reef of
Those who at one time were
controlled by their evil cravings, have now through blood bought salvation entered
into a new state of being, that of inward positional holiness, by virtue of
the indwelling Holy Spirit, and this inward holiness is now to be
worked out in our external expression in daily life. All
believers are sharers in the New Covenant prophesied in Ezekiel,
in which God promised to the future believing remnant of Israel
I will give you a new (Lxx = kainos = new
in quality, never seen before) heart and put a new
(Lxx = kainos = new in quality, never seen before)
spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from
your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My
Spirit within you and cause
you to walk in My statutes, and
you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezek 36:26, 27)
proclamation through Ezekiel again observing
(1) God's promise and
(2) man's responsibility. Peter is commanding his readers who
have a new heart and new spirit to be holy or as God
phrases it in Ezekiel to "be careful to observe My
ordinances." But the only power we have to obey is His
indwelling Holy Spirit which causes us "to walk in (His)
statutes", being holy as He is holy. (Cp same spiritual dynamic
in Php 2:12-note,
Holiness is not
merely the absence of the wrong. It is also the unmistakable
presence of the right.
We are to pass our few days on this earth with our hope riveted
upon Christ’s soon return and our conduct increasingly reflective of Christ’s holiness.
The privilege of election
also involves responsibilities of obedience (Dt 7:6, 11)...The
argument here is logical and simple. Children inherit the nature
of their parents. God is holy; therefore, as His children, we
should live holy lives. We are "partakers of the divine nature"
and ought to reveal that nature in godly living. Peter reminded
his readers of what they were before they trusted Christ. They
had been children of disobedience (Ep 2:1, 2, 3), but now they
were to be obedient children. True salvation always results in
obedience (Ro 1:5; 1Pe 1:2). They had also been imitators of the
world, "fashioning themselves" after the standards and pleasures
of the world. Ro 12:2 translates this same word as "conformed to
this world." Unsaved people tell us that they want to be "free
and different"; yet they all imitate one another! The cause of
all this is ignorance that leads to indulgence. Unsaved people
lack spiritual intelligence, and this causes them to give
themselves to all kinds of fleshly and worldly indulgences (see
Acts 17:30; Eph. 4:17, 18, 19, 20). Since we were born with a
fallen nature, it was natural for us to live sinful lives.
Nature determines appetites and actions. A dog and a cat behave
differently because they have different natures
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Ryle reminds us that...
Sanctification is always a
progressive work (and in this daily process we must not become
discouraged, remembering that) there is no holiness without a
[word study]) (See
discussion of sanctification,
hagiasmos) is translated elsewhere
and has in it the idea of separation and means set apart from
secular, profane, evil and dedicated to worship and service of
God. Kittel says that the old related Greek root word hagos
signifies the object of awe.
Peter is not calling
for an ordinary life but a supernatural separated life, one which is set
apart from sin and the moral pollution of the world and unto
God’s righteousness. Believers are not to cover up their
characteristics as Christians by assuming an outward masquerade,
patterned after the costume of this world. Don't sweep it the
rug, but put it under the blood.
is not referring to our positional holiness (we are eternally
"holy" in Christ) but to our experiential holiness.
It is to understand that a saint is one who will strive to be
holy, but his holiness, however little or however great it may
be, does not make him a saint. He is a saint because he has been
set apart by God and that is now and forever his position in
Christ. In other
words our creed (saints, holy ones) and our conduct
(holy behavior, pursuit of holiness) are to be inseparable. One
cannot exhibit right "duty" without right doctrine, but right
(holy) conduct should always flow out of sound doctrine.
Knowledge and action are inseparable. What you belief should
affect how you behave. Peter is calling for a
separated lifestyle which will be either
an aroma from death
to death (or) to the other an aroma from life to life
We are God's possession by both
the right of creation and the right of redemption. When we came
to Christ, God set us apart from the rank and file
of humanity. We are now the sons of God. Our new set apart
character should lead to growth in Christ likeness and
consecration to the service of God.
Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones once made the interesting
As you go on living this
righteous life, and practising it with all your might and
energy, and all your time … you will find that the process that
went on before, in which you went on from bad to worse and
became viler and viler, is entirely reversed. You will become
cleaner and cleaner, and purer and purer, and holier and holier,
and more and more conformed unto the image of the Son of God.
(Romans: An Exposition of Chapter Six. Page , 268–69. Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1972)
Christians are empowered to live holy lives by the
indwelling Holy Spirit. Old Testament saints did not have this
help and blessing. But since
we are more privileged, we are also more responsible. The verse
Peter quotes from Leviticus acquires a new depth of meaning in
the NT. It is the difference between the formal and the vital.
Holiness was God’s ideal in the OT. It has assumed a concrete,
everyday quality with the coming of the Spirit of truth. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Vance Havner quoted Spurgeon
"Holiness is not the way to Christ; Christ is the way to
holiness." (then Havner added) Better still, Christ is
As our pattern or standard of
holiness we have nothing less than God's holiness! Holiness is
be the desire and duty of
every Christian. We are to do this out of our love for God, as
a choice which is based on God's
Word. Old Testament
holiness called for Israel to separate from everything
ritually or morally impure. In Leviticus Moses records God's
instruction on holiness writing
For I am the Lord your God.
Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy.
And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the
swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am the
Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God;
thus you shall be holy for I am holy. (Lev 11:44, 45)
Commenting on this OT section
MacArthur writes that
In all of this, God is teaching His people to live
antithetically. That is, He is using these clean and unclean
distinctions to separate Israel from other idolatrous nations
who have no such restrictions, and He is illustrating by these
prescriptions that His people must learn to live His way.
Through dietary laws and rituals, God is teaching them the
reality of living His way in everything. They are being taught
to obey God in every seemingly mundane area of life, so as to
learn how crucial obedience is. Sacrifices, rituals, diet, and
even clothing and cooking are all carefully ordered by God to
teach them that they are to live differently from everyone else.
This is to be an external illustration for the separation from
sin in their hearts. Because the Lord is their God, they are to
be utterly distinct. In Lev 11:44, for the first time the
statement “I am the Lord your God” is made, as a reason for the
required separation and holiness. After this verse, that phrase
is mentioned about 50 more times in this book, along with the
equally instructive claim, “I am holy.” Because God is holy and
is their God, the people are to be holy in outward ceremonial
behavior as an external expression of the greater necessity of
heart holiness. The connection between ceremonial holiness
carries over into personal holiness. The only motivation given
for all these laws is to learn to be holy because God is holy. (MacArthur,
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word)
New Testament holiness
calls for living morally pure lives despite the fact that we
must live in sinful human society. We are to be holy in all we
do, to “abstain from sinful desires,” and to keep our “behavior
excellent among the Gentiles" ("the unsaved")” around us (1Pe
2:12). And as already alluded to this holy living is
motivated by a God-fearing faith that does not presume upon the
redemption that was purchased at so great a cost (1Pe 1:18, 19) but
which focuses on the blessed hope of "future grace" (1Jn
Testament Hebrew word for holiness, kadesh, means “something
which is cut off, separate or set apart.” It means to be
anti-secular, in a category all its own, to elevate out of the
sphere of what is ordinary. (Ron
F B Meyer says
Holiness is wholeness--that is, the
whole-hearted devotion of a whole nature to God, the
consecration of every power to His service. This leads us to
lean hard on God, and to seek His companionship and fellowship.
(Our Daily Walk, Feb 18th)
F. B. Meyer was visiting in a Scottish home. It was washday, and
the clothes were on the line. It began to snow, and soon the
clothes did not look so white against the background of the
snow. When Meyer remarked about it, the old Scottish landlady
cried, "Mon, what can stand against God Almighty's white!" When
Isaiah saw the Lord in His holiness, he saw himself in his
sinfulness and the people in their wickedness. A sense of God
brought a sense of sin.
H. C. G. Moule
As we actually approach the
rules of holiness... (introductory comments on Romans 12-16),
let us once more recollect what we have seen all along in the
Epistle (of Romans), that holiness is the aim and issue of the
entire Gospel. It is indeed an 'evidence of life,'
infinitely weighty in the enquiry whether a man knows God indeed
and is on the way to his heaven. But it is much more; it is the
expression of life; it is the form and action in which
life is intended to come out.... We who believe are 'chosen' and
'ordained' to 'bring forth fruit' (Jn 15:16), fruit much and
lasting The eternal Master walks in His garden for the very
purpose of seeing if the trees bear. And the fruit He looks for
is. no visionary thing; it is a life of holy serviceableness to
Him and to our fellows, in His Name. (Moule, H. The Epistle to
the Romans. Page 325. Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature
James Montgomery Boice on holiness...
Subtract love from holiness.
What do you get? You get self-righteousness, the kind of virtue
that characterized the Pharisees of Christ's day. By the
standards of the day the Pharisees lived very holy lives, but
they did not love others and were ready to kill Christ when he
challenged their standards, and actually did kill him. They were
Jesus is glorified in His own
people to the degree that we live a holy life. Holiness is the
attribute of God most mentioned in the pages of the Word of God.
To hear most people talk about God today you would think that
the attribute most mentioned about him is love. But this is not
true. To be sure, love is a wonderful attribute. It is all the
more wonderful because we do not deserve it. There is nothing in
us that could possibly call forth the love of God. Yet he loves.
This makes the love of God particularly wonderful. But even with
this wonder, it is not the attribute of God most mentioned in
the Bible. The attribute most mentioned is holiness. So if we
would glorify him, we must make his holiness known as, allowing
him to work through us, we attempt to live upright and dedicated
lives. If we live in spiritual adultery, compromising with the
values of our society, if the priorities of our non-Christian
culture become our priorities, we are not living in a way that
glorifies him. But if, by contrast, the priorities of the Word
of God seize upon us and we strive for holiness in our lives,
then we do glorify him....
The second requirement (Ed:
First is faith in God) for walking with God is holiness. God is
holy, and those who would have fellowship with Him must be holy
as well...One way we accommodate ourselves to sin is by calling
it by some other name. We call sin "failure," or we say we've
made "a mistake." We call pride "self-esteem," selfishness
"fulfillment," lust "an instinct." If we cheat in business, we
call it "protecting our own interests." If we commit adultery,
we call it "an attempt to save the marriage." We call murdering
an unborn child "terminating a pregnancy." What hypocrites we
are! How offensive we must be to God, who is obviously not taken
in by our reinterpretations but who calls sin, sin and evil,
evil. Shakespeare said, "A rose by any other name would smell as
sweet." Likewise, sin by any other name will smell as putrid.
You and I will never grow in holiness unless we see sin for what
it is and call it sin, and we will never learn to do that unless
we walk closely with God. It is when we walk with God that we
learn to call things by God's vocabulary....
(In his introduction to
Romans Boice writes) In these studies of Romans, I have been
strengthened in my own awareness of the sovereignty, grace, and
holiness of God and of the need for holiness in his people, that
is, for holiness in those who profess to be Christians. We are
not a holy people, not very. But we can become increasingly holy
as we draw near to God and live in the mental universe of these
great Bible teachings. Indeed, we must!...May God bless us in
these sad days of declining evangelicalism, and may we have a
recovery of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27KJV). I know no
better way to move in that direction than by studying,
meditating on, and once again preaching from the Book of Romans.
Holiness is the end of
the matter, the point to which the entire Epistle of Romans has
been heading. Romans is about salvation. But as someone wise has
noted, salvation does not mean that Jesus died to save us in
our sins but to save us from them.
J. Vernon McGee
has these helpful comments on the not too popular topic of holiness:
does not mean sinless perfection, a condition impossible in this
life (1Jn 1:8, 9, 10).
Holiness is that is very misunderstood. To the average
person, holiness means to assume a very pious attitude, to
become almost abnormal in everyday life. It is thought
to be a superficial thing. My friend, the Lord wants you to be a
fully integrated personality. He wants you to enjoy life and
have fun—I don’t mean the sinful kind of fun, but real delight
and enjoyment in the life He has given to you. Holiness is to
the spiritual life what health is to the physical life. You like
to see a person who is physically fine, robust, and healthy.
Well, holiness is to be healthy and robust spiritually. Oh, how
we need folk like this today! (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
The call to
holiness is a basic concept of 1 Peter, which has already
surfaced in verse 2 (“the sanctifying [from the same Greek
root] work of the Spirit”). It is prominent in the descriptions
of Christians as a holy temple, a holy priesthood, and a
people in 1Peter 2:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Christians are to live as persons dedicated
to God’s service.
Carson rightly reminds us of the effort involved in being
holy as He is holy...
People do not drift toward
holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not
gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture,
faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and
call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it
freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We
cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it
relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves
into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward
godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated. (D.
A. Carson, Christianity Today)
IN ALL YOUR BEHAVIOR: en pase
1Pe 3:16- note;
1Ti 4:12; Heb 13:5
Jas 3:13; 2Pe 3:11, 12, 13, 14-note)
So let our
lips and lives express
The holy gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine.
In an excellent synopsis
of what holiness looks like and why it is
imperative for believers, J C Ryle writes that
is the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance
as we find His mind described in Scripture...
(b) A holy
person will endeavor to turn away from every known sin, and to
keep every known commandment....
(c) A holy person will
strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ...
(d) A holy
person will pursue meekness, endurance, gentleness, patience,
kindness, and control of their tongue...
(e) A holy person will
pursue self-control and self-denial...
(f) A holy person
will pursue love and brotherly kindness....
(g) A holy
person will pursue a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards
(h) A holy person will pursue purity of heart...
(i) A holy person will pursue the fear of God....
A holy man will pursue humility....
(k) A holy man will
pursue faithfulness in all the duties and relationships in life....
(l) Last, but not least, a holy person will pursue spiritual
Holiness by J. C. Ryle
for discussion of each point and practical application)
your behavior - Wholly holy is the idea, so that every
thought, word and action reflects the holiness of the Holy One.
Practically, this calls not just for holy behavior on Sunday,
but holy behavior every where, making no distinction between
so-called "secular" and "sacred." Peter is saying in essence
that the sum total of life is holy, even the seemingly mundane
and ordinary activities of life, so that everything is done to
the glory of God (1Co 10:31). This doctrine can be applied
practically as a test to all my thoughts, words and deeds --- If
I cannot do it to the glory of God, then I can be certain that I
am out of the will of God and it is by default unholy behavior.
Angell James has these thoughts on "in all your behavior"...
Let him turn away from all
the conventional piety of the day, and read over with devout
attention what is said in a former chapter, of the true nature
of genuine piety.
Let him, in a season of closet devotion, examine his own piety,
and compare it with this standard.
Let him, upon discovering his great and numerous shortcomings,
humble and abase himself before God, in a spirit of true
Let him reject all excuses which his own deceitful heart, and
lukewarm, worldly-minded Christians—will be ever ready to
suggest for self-defense, and be thoroughly convinced that
nothing can, or will, be admitted by God as an apology for a low
state of personal piety.
Let him intensely desire to be raised from his depressed
condition into a more exalted state of spirituality,
heavenly-mindedness, and devoted zeal. Let him set himself most
vigorously to the work of mortifying sin, and crucifying the
Let him redouble his diligence in attending the means of grace,
and especially let him give himself to reading the Scriptures,
meditation, and prayer.
Let him add season to season of special humiliation and
supplication, to obtain a new and copious effusion of the Holy
Spirit of God.
Let him cultivate a new and more delicate sensibility of
conscience, in reference to all matters of offence, both towards
God and man.
Let him seek to have his mind illuminated by the Spirit and Word
of God, in the knowledge of the person, offices, and work, of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let him give himself to Christian vigilance, watching ever
Let him, in short, intelligently, resolutely, and unalterably,
make up his mind to enter upon a new course of personal
godliness; so new that his past attainments shall seem as if
they were nothing. There is such a thing as starting afresh, as
forgetting the things that are behind—and so must it be with him
who would be really in earnest. He will wake up from his
slumbering, dreamy profession, saying, "I have slept too long
and too much, I must now throw off the spirit of sloth, and give
all diligence to make my calling and election sure." (The
Church in Earnest) (Main
Pink writes that...
Christ was uniformly holy—at
one time and place as well as another. The same even tenor of
holiness ran through the whole of His life from first to last—so
should it be with His followers, "As He who has called you is
holy—so be holy in all you do" (1Peter 1:15). Alas, what
inconsistencies we have to bemoan—one part of our life heavenly,
another earthly! (Christ
Be like Christ in HOLINESS of
life. No temptation could fasten upon Him. Temptation to Christ,
was like a spark of fire upon a marble pillar, which glides off.
...A Christian should be both a magnet and a diamond! A
magnet—in drawing others to Christ; a diamond—in casting a
sparkling luster of holiness, in his life. Oh let us be . . .so
just in our dealings, so true in our promises, so devout in our
worship, so unblamable in our lives; that we may be the walking
pictures of Christ!
(Thomas Watson, "Body
goes on to list a holy life as a sign of sanctification...
A fifth sign is a holy life.
"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you
do." 1Peter 1:15. Where the heart is sanctified, the life will
be holy. The temple had gold without, as well as within. A coin
has the king's image and superscription stamped on it. Just
so, where there is sanctification, there is not only God's image
in the heart—but a superscription of holiness written in the
life. Some say they have good hearts—but their lives are
wicked. "There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,
and yet is not washed from their filthiness." If the water is
foul in the bucket, it cannot be clean in the well. "The king's
daughter is all glorious within." Ps 45:13. There is holiness of
heart. "Her clothing is of wrought gold." There is holiness of
life. Grace is most beautiful, when its light so shines that
others may see it; this adorns true religion, and makes
proselytes to the faith.
(For the other signs of sanctification
Body of Divinity)
God is not drawn to any
person's outward beauty, great abilities, noble blood or worldly
grandeur. But He is drawn to a heart embellished with holiness.
Christ never admired anything but the beauty of holiness. He
slighted the glorious buildings of the temple—but admired the
woman's faith, and said, "O woman, great is your faith!" As a
king delights to see his image upon a piece of coin; so where
God sees His likeness—He gives His love! The Lord has two
heavens to dwell in—and the holy heart is one of them!
(Thomas Watson, "Body
from ana = again + strepho = to turn) literally
describes a turning around or turning back and is used
figuratively to refer to one's conduct, especially focusing on
our daily behavior and our general deportment. In essence
anastrophe deals with on the whole manner of one's life.
Anastrophe is used of
public activity, life in relation to others. Being holy as
members of a holy people, they were to show themselves holy in
every kind of dealing with other men.
Marvin Vincent writes
that behavior (anastrophe)
a favorite word with Peter;
used eight times in the two epistles...The
process of development in the meaning of the word is
interesting. 1. A turning upside down. 2. A turning about or
wheeling. 3. Turning about in a place, going back and forth
there about one’s business; and so, 4, one’s mode of life or
conduct. This is precisely the idea in the word conversation
(Lat., conversare, to turn round) which was used when the AV
(KJV) was made, as the common term for general deportment or
The most banal sense of the
root verb anastrepho is “return, come back from one place
to another,” hence “retrace one’s steps” (1Sa 25:12; 2Sa
3:16)—sometimes retains the etymological nuance “to return
upside down,” like runaways thrown back on top of each other
(1Mac 7:46; cf. Jdt 1:11); sometimes it has the sense of coming
and going, “living.” Hence its metaphorical usage: “walk in
Only this moral nuance is
retained in the noun anastrophe, designating a mode of
existence, a way of behaving. This became a technical term in NT
spirituality. Just as the way of life of the pagans is
stigmatized, so also is “perfect conduct from childhood” praised
(2Mac 6:23, kallistē). When Paul testifies concerning his
conscience (“It is with simplicity and the purity of God—not in
fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God—that we have conducted
ourselves in the world, particularly in our dealings with you,”
2Co 1:12), he contrasts two modes of existence and already gives
anastrophe the exemplary sense that will be required
especially of ministers of the church; the model, who is
particularly visible, ought to be inspiring. Life lived in the
faith is a persuasive testimony. It is above all Peter who
demands of all Christians an unassailable comportment. Whether
with respect to bearing, dress, or behavior in family and social
relations, every action and reaction in the context of the
community, that is, the concrete life of the believer, should be
noble and radiant: “Let your behavior among the nations be
noble” (1Pet 2:12), apt as a result to disarm criticisms (1Pe
3:16), notably those of husbands won over by the chaste and
quiet deportment of their wives (1Pe 3:1, 2). (Spicq, C., &
Ernest, J. D. Theological Lexicon of the New Testament
1:111-112. Peabody, MA.: Hendrickson)
In classical Greek, the verb
meant among other things “to turn one’s self about, to turn
back, round, or about, to dwell in a place,” the noun, “a
turning back or about, occupation in a thing, a mode of life,
behaviour.” One can see that the ideas of “a mode of life” and
“one’s behaviour” are derived from the fact of one’s activity.
Thayer’s note is helpful. He says that the verb means “to
conduct or behave one’s self, to walk,” the latter meaning not
referring here to the physical act of walking but to the act of
determining our course of conduct and the carrying out of that
determined course of action. The noun means “one’s walk, manner
of life, conduct.” In the biblical use of the word, the moral
and spiritual aspect of one’s manner of life is in view.
Anastrophe - 13x in
13v - Gal 1:13; Eph 4:22; 1 Tim 4:12; Heb 13:7; Jas 3:13; 1 Pet
1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1f, 16; 2 Pet 2:7; 3:11. NAS =
behavior(6), conduct(4), manner of life(2), way of life(1).
There are no uses in the non-apocryphal Septuagint.
Galatians 1:13 For you have
heard of my former manner of life (referring to Paul’s
ethical conduct) in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church
of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay
aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with
the lusts of deceit,
1 Timothy 4:12-note
Let no one look
+ negative = stop letting them look down) on your youthfulness,
but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity,
show yourself an example of those who believe.
conduct" = The Christian's words must always be backed up by
their works (behavior, lifestyle).
those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and
considering the result of their conduct,
James 3:13 Who among you is
wise and understanding?
Let him show
by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of
1 Peter 1:15-note
but like the Holy One who called you,
holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
1 Peter 1:18-note
knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like
silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited
from your forefathers,
1 Peter 2:12-note
your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, (Why?)
so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers,
they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them,
glorify God in the day of visitation.
= To modern ears the Authorized Version (1Pe 2:12KJV) can be a
little misleading. It speaks about “having your conversation
honest among the Gentiles.” That sounds to us as if it meant
that the Christian must always speak the truth, but the word
translated conversation is anastrophe, which means a
man’s whole conduct, not simply his talk. That is, in fact, what
conversation did mean in the seventeenth century.
1 Peter 3:1-note
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands
so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they
may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
1 Peter 3:15-note
Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a
defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope
that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
2 Peter 2:7-note
and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual
conduct of unprincipled men
2 Peter 3:11-note
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what
sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and
Comment: Note the
dramatic contrast in conduct in Peters two uses in
2Peter, sensual versus holy.
Dwight Edwards remarks that the related
anastrepho... means to "turn
above, back, again, etc." Each of us are like a diamond in God's
hand, and He wants to be able to turn any facet of our life to
this darkened world so they can see Jesus Christ reflected in
that particular area. (1 Peter Well done
On May 28, 1972, the Duke of
Windsor, the uncrowned King Edward VIII, died in Paris. On the
same evening, a television program recounted the main events of
his life. Viewers watched film footage in which the duke
answered questions about his upbringing, his brief reign, and
his eventual abdication.
Recalling his boyhood as
Prince of Wales, he said: "My father [King George V] was a
strict disciplinarian. Sometimes when I had done something
wrong, he would admonish me, saying, 'My dear boy, you must
always remember who you are.'"
It is my conviction that our
heavenly Father says the same to us every day: "My dear child,
you must always remember who you are."
Let us constantly remind
ourselves of who we are [in Christ.] (John Stott, The Message of
Romans. InterVarsity, 1994);
All (pas = all with no exceptions
- every manner of conduct whether it be work or rest, business
or pleasure) of life is holy
and to be live bring glory to God. Holiness is not to be
compartmentalized into certain “religious” areas of our
life. Holiness is a way of life that affects everything we do.
Holiness is a lifestyle, not conformity to a list
of rules. Even such
ordinary activities as eating and drinking can be done to the
glory of God (1Cor 10:31).
If something cannot be done to the
glory of God, then we can be relatively sure that it is not in the will
Albert Barnes comments
The meaning is, that since God is holy, and we profess to be his
followers, we also ought to be holy. (Barnes, A: Barnes' Notes
on the Bible)
F B Meyer writes that our
is so absolutely important because it is our
witness to the world. Our character, as exemplified in our
behaviour, is the world's only Bible and sermon (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). Let us learn to walk so as to please God, and to bless
mankind. To walk is at first a Matter of considering every
little step, but afterwards it becomes the habit of the soul
(Our Daily Walk, August 26th)
One man expressed it thus:
are writing a gospel, a chapter each day;
by the things that you do and the words that you say.
Men read what you write, distorted or true,
what is the gospel according to you?"
Let the acts of the offspring indicate similarity to the Father.
Jesus is our pattern of
holiness and although we are to imitate Him we can never equal
Him for He is absolute holiness. As the moon is a
reflection of the sun's glory, so our lives should be a
reflection of the One Who called us to salvation. God calls His
children to bear a family resemblance.
asks a pithy question...
What is the outstanding characteristic of your
life? Humanly speaking, what is it? How you answer this question
depends on your understanding of the phrase "manner of life."
Most people answer by what they do. That is not accurate. Your
manner of life is what you do based on what you think. What you
really are is what goes on in your mind. What you do is a result
of what you think. Our manner of life is what you think and do.
This manner of life consists of acquired characteristics as well
as inherent characteristics. This is no mere pious fantasy. It
is more than a nice idea; it is a divine directive. God wants
our lives to match the gospel. So often our lives clash with the
gospel. God is greatly exercised about how we behave ourselves
with the gospel. He is concerned about the quality of our lives
because our lives reflect on Him. "Only let your conduct
be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and
see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand
fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the
faith of the gospel," (Php 1:27-note). (1
Paul prayed that there
would be no grounds of accusation because of unholiness in the
lives of the Thessalonian saints writing
may the Lord cause
you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all
men, just as we also do for you so that He may establish your
hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. (1Th 3:12,
Dearly beloved, is there
any ground of accusation because of unholiness in your life? An
awareness and anticipation of Christ's imminent return should
motivate holy conduct.
One of the goals of God's
discipline is holiness, the writer of Hebrews
recording that our earthly fathers
disciplined us for a
short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our
good, that we may share (partake of) His holiness. (see
Vincent adds that
Holiness is life. Shall we not be
subject to the Father of spirits and live? For, in contrast with
the temporary, faultful chastening of the human parent, which,
at best, prepares for work and success in time and in worldly
things, his chastening results in holiness and eternal
life. (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New
Testament. Vol. 4, Page 544).
J H Jowett writes that
purpose of God’s chastening is not punitive but creative. He
chastens “that we may share His holiness.” The phrase
“that we may share” has direction in it, and the direction
points toward a purified and beautified life. The fire which is
kindled is not a bonfire, blazing heedlessly and unguardedly,
and consuming precious things; it is a refiner’s fire, and the
Refiner sits by it, and He is firmly and patiently and gently
bringing holiness out of carelessness and stability out of
weakness. God is always creating even when He is using the
darker means of grace. He is producing the fruits and flowers of
the Spirit. His love is always in quest of lovely things.
(Jowett, J H, Life in the Heights, page 247-248)
Bob Deffinbaugh writes that
Holiness is the choice
to march to the beat of a different drum... The desires which
characterize the fallen world we live in once dominated us. These
desires are themselves to be rejected and replaced by new desires. This
is what holiness is all about—not just doing what God wants, but
desiring those things in which He delights. (Deffinbaugh:
A Call to Holiness)
An old Puritan tells us that
a “blurred finger is unfit to wipe away a blot.” This is
something we need to hear; we live in a generation that has
blurred virtually everything. When this blurring happens,
everything about true religion suffers, but nothing suffers more
than the concept of the holy. That which is holy is distinct,
clear, separate, and other—it is in no way blurred. Christians
must recover the doctrine of holiness. (Reformation and Revival
Montgomery Boice has some practical thoughts on holiness...
But when we ask..."How can I
be holy?" we come to this point at once, for the answer is
always, "Through a study of the Bible and the application of its
truths to daily life. "Jesus indicates this in our text in
regard to sanctification by saying, "Sanctify them in (Ed:
in the sphere of or "atmosphere" of) the truth; Thy word is
truth" (John 17:17). It is a striking thing, which we
realize more and more as we grow in the Christian life, that
nearly all that God does in the world today, he does by the Holy
Spirit through the instrumentality of his written revelation.
This is true of sanctification. Sanctification means to be set
apart for God's use. So our text tells us that the only way this
will ever happen to us is by an appropriation of God's truth as
is recorded for us in the Bible.
So far as the truth goes, the world lives by an illusion, and
this is an inevitable problem for us unless we have a sure way
of countering and actually overturning its influence. Ray
Stedman writes correctly of this problem when he says, "The
world lives by what it thinks is truth, by values and standards
which are worthless, but which the world esteems highly. Jesus
said, 'What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight
of God' (Luke 16:15). That is how the world lives. And how can
we live in that kind of a world—touch it and hear it, having it
pouring into our ears and exposed to our eyes day and night, and
not be conformed to its image and squeezed into its mold? The
answer is, we must know the truth. We must know the world and
life the way God sees it, the way it really is. We must know it
so clearly and strongly that even while we're listening to these
alluring lies we can brand them as lies and know that they are
wrong."[Stedman, Secrets of the Spirit, 147-48]. Stedman is
saying that Christians should be the greatest of all realists,
because their realism is that of the truth of God. This by its
very nature should lead to their greater and greater
Dead Ends to Holiness - If we are to receive the
blessings God has for his church, we must receive them in the
way God has planned to give them to us, and this means that
there are many ways in which holiness will not come to us.
It will not come through
preaching or listening to preaching, for instance. Most of
us know people who have specialized in Bible conferences and
conventions to such a degree that they are fully aware of the
points at which one speaker varies from another and even at
times of what a speaker is going to say before he says it. One
Bible teacher said that "they can readily foretell a speaker's
third point while he is still in the midst of the second." But
this alone does not produce holiness, as such people often
testify. In fact, they are often quite restless and confess to a
lack of true blessing in their lives. What is wrong? Simply,
they are looking to men for their teaching, rather than to God.
And when they do hear the Word of God, they hear it without that
full yielding of the spirit to God's truth, which
produces growth through obedience.
A second way in which we will not find holiness is through
prayer or, still less, through prayer meetings. Prayer is
important, and the Christian who is growing in the Christian
life will inevitably find that times of prayer, both public and
private, are increasingly precious to him or her. But however
valuable prayer is, it is not the God-ordained means for growth
in holiness. Prayer is preparation for such growth. But at what
point in prayer does God actually speak to us and direct us in
the way we should go? It is only when God the Holy Spirit
brings the words of Scripture to our minds or directs us to the
Bible for the direction we need. Apart from this
corresponding reflection on the Word of God, prayer is merely a
monologue. As such, it may relieve our personal anxieties, but
it does not provide direction. On the contrary, when we study
the Word and pray over it, God leads us clearly and keeps us
from the suggestions of Satan or the kinds of autosuggestion (or
wish fulfillment) that all too frequently pass for divine
guidance in the lives of some Christians.
Third, we must not expect to find holiness through a special
experience, sometimes called a second blessing. There is
nothing wrong with special experiences of God's grace; in fact,
it is a strange Christian life that does not have many of them.
But the error consists in supposing that sanctification will
come through one, or even more than one, decisive experience. It
does not work that way. Consequently, whenever you find yourself
looking for an experience, you are always on the wrong track and
in spiritual danger. Sanctification comes rather from seeking
always and increasingly to have the Lord Jesus Christ exalted in
our lives. And the way to do that is by discovering what He
desires of us and for us in His Word.
A boy who had just listened
to a long sermon walked out of church with a big frown on his
face. His father had pulled his ear during the service to keep
him from fidgeting. "What's the matter, Johnny?" asked one of
the deacons. "You look so sad." The frustrated young fellow
responded quickly, "I am. It's hard to be happy and holy at the
This boy was probably expressing the feelings of many young
Christians, and perhaps many adults as well. They have the idea
that if they are to be good, they can't possibly be happy. The
nineteenth-century South African minister Andrew Murray
corrected that misconception. He said, "Holiness is essential to
true happiness; happiness is essential to true holiness. If you
would have joy, the fullness of joy, an abiding joy which
nothing can take away, be holy as God is holy. Holiness is
blessedness. . . . If we would live lives of joy, assuring God
and man and ourselves that our Lord is everything, is more than
all to us, oh, let us be holy! . . . If you would be a holy
Christian, you must be a happy Christian. Jesus was anointed by
God with 'the oil of gladness,' that He might give us the 'oil
of joy.' In all our efforts after holiness, the wheels will move
heavily if there be not the oil of joy."
The joy of Christ should ring through our souls in our most holy
moments. We're on the road to spiritual maturity when we've
learned that happiness and holiness are not enemies, but
friends. —D. C. Egner (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Octavius Winslow devotional (Evening Thoughts) on 1Peter
motive to sanctification came clothed with such solemnity and
power, and was so felt by the Jewish Church, what should be its
authority and influence with the Church as it now exists! The
increased power and solemnity of this motive is drawn from the
more resplendent exhibition of God's holiness in the cross of
Christ. With no such development of the Divine purity, as an
argument to sanctification, were the saints of the Old Testament
favored. But we possess it; so that if we continue in sin, after
we have believed, we are "without excuse," and God is "clear
when He judges." Here, in the cross, is God's grand
demonstration of His holiness. Here has He, as it were, unveiled
His great perfections, and shown what a sin-hating,
holiness-loving God He is. What! could He not pass by His dear
Son—did He give Him up to the "shame and the spitting,"—did He
not withhold His "darling from the potter of the dog,"—did
justice sheathe its sword in the heart of Jesus—did it smite the
Shepherd? And why all this? The answer comes from Calvary, "I,
the Lord, am a holy God." And then follows the precept—oh how
touching!—"Be you holy, for I am holy." See how the justice of
God (and what is the justice of God but His holiness in
exercise?) revealed itself as a "consuming fire" on Calvary. Our
dear Lord was "a whole burned-offering" for His people; and the
fire that descended and consumed the sacrifice was the holiness
of God in active and fearful process. Here, then, springs the
solemn necessity for sanctification in the believer. The God he
loves is holy—his Father is holy, and He has written out that
holiness, in awful letters, in the cross of His well-beloved
Son. "Be you holy, for I am holy." We must study God in Christ.
There we see His holiness, justice, wisdom, grace, truth, love,
and mercy, all unfolded in their richest glory and most
The necessity for sanctification also springs from the work of
Christ. The Lord Jesus became incarnate and died as much for the
sanctification as for the pardon and justification of His
Church; as much for her deliverance from the indwelling power of
sin as from the condemnatory power of sin. His work had been but
partial and incomplete, had no provision been made for the
holiness of the believer. But He came not only to blot out sin,
but to rend asunder its chain—not only to remove its curse, but
to break its scepter. The believer in Jesus may be but
imperfectly aware how closely associated his sanctification is
with the obedience and death of Christ. Yes, that the very death
of Christ for sin out of him, is the death of sin in him—that no
inroads are made upon the dominion of indwelling sin, no
conquests obtained, no flesh crucified, no easy-besetting sin
laid aside, save only as the believer hangs daily upon the
cross. Observe how the Holy Spirit connects the two—the death of
Christ and the holiness of the believer "And for their sakes,"
says Jesus, "I sanctify myself, that they also might be
sanctified through the truth." As their High Priest to atone and
purify, He set Himself apart as a holy sacrifice to the Lord God
for the Church's sake: "For their sakes I sanctify myself," or
set apart myself. Oh, what a motive to holiness is this! Saint
of God! can you resist it?
Declaration Of Dependence:
By Striving After it or By Resting in God?
here for other resources to Discipline Yourself)
As I sat in the doctor’s
waiting room, my attention was drawn to a portrait of a man
sculpted out of a block of marble. The sculpture was complete
down to about mid-thigh, but below that the partially chipped
away marble gradually phased into the outline of the original
block. The man in the sculpture was handsome and robust, the
kind of body any man would like to have. But the arresting thing
about the picture was that the sculptor’s hammer and chisel were
in the hands of the man being sculpted. The man was sculpting
himself. As I pondered the painting, I was struck by its graphic
portrayal of how many Christians seek to grow in personal
holiness. We try, as it were, to sculpt or mold ourselves. We
seek to grow in holiness through our own personal efforts and
willpower. And we’re just as ludicrous as a block of marble
trying to sculpt itself.He
Paul prayed similarly for the Thessalonian believers, “May God
himself, the God of peace, sanctify you [make you holy] through
and through” (1Th 5:23-note).
We as believers can no more make ourselves holy than a block of
marble can transform itself into a beautiful statue. We are
totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to do this work in us. Yet
over and over we place the entire burden for growing in holiness
on ourselves. We make resolutions, we try harder, and we may
even succeed in changing some of our outward conduct. But we
cannot change our hearts. Only God can do that.
Holiness is not, as is so often thought, adherence to a set of
rules. It is conformity to the character of God—nothing more,
nothing less. It is God’s plan for us. He has “predestined [us]
to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Ro 8:29-note).
To this end, Paul says, “We are being transformed into his
likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord,
who is the Spirit” (2Cor 3:18). The words conform and transform
in these verses have the same root. A form is a pattern or
model. Transformed speaks of the process; conformed speaks of
the end result. We are being transformed into the likeness of
Christ so that we might finally be conformed to the likeness of
Him who is our pattern or model.
Who, then, transforms us? Paul tells us in 2Cor 3:18 that it is
the Spirit. We are not sculpting ourselves into the likeness of
Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. The writer of Hebrews
recognized this when he prayed, “May the God of peace . . . work
in us what is pleasing to him” (
It was said of the Lord Jesus, for example, that He “loved
righteousness and hated wickedness” (He 1:9-note).
To be transformed into His likeness, then, is to be brought to
where we, too, love righteousness and hate wickedness. This is
more than merely changing our conduct or conforming to a set of
rules. It is a complete renovation of our hearts, something only
the Holy Spirit can do. Is the road to holiness, then, one of
dependence on God, or of personal discipline? Surely it is one
of dependence on God.
We must not, however, carry
the analogy of the marble statue too far. After all, a piece of
marble is absolutely lifeless. It has no mind, no heart, no
will. The sculptor receives no cooperation from the lifeless
block of marble, and expects none. The same is not true of
believers. God has given us mind, heart, and will with which to
respond to His work in us, with which to cooperate with His
Spirit in the process of transforming us into the likeness of
Christ. He intends that we understand His will with our minds,
that we yearn to do it with our hearts, and that we actually
make choices of obedience with our wills. We are to “make every
effort . . . to be holy” (He 12:14-note).
We are to train, or discipline, ourselves to be godly (1Ti 4:7-note).
We are to put to death the traits of our sinful nature and
clothe ourselves with the traits of godly character (Col 3:5-note;
The New Testament is filled with injunctions about holy
character that address our responsibility. In the pursuit of
holiness, we must not be passive blocks of marble in the hands
of a sculptor.
Is the road to holiness, then, one of dependence on God, or of
personal discipline? Surely it is one of personal discipline.
But how can this be? If the work of transforming us into
Christ’s likeness is the Holy Spirit’s ministry, where does our
responsibility fit in? How can we be simultaneously responsible
for pursuing holiness and totally dependent on the Spirit?
I am an engineer, both by training and by temperament. One
characteristic of engineers is that we always want to know how
things work. I carried this analytical attitude into the
Christian life. For years I tried to analyze the precise
relationship between the Holy Spirit and the human personality.
I visualized two gears, one representing the Spirit and one
representing my own personality, and I wanted to know just how
they meshed. I kept trying to answer the question of exactly how
my personal responsibility for growing in holiness fit together
with the work of the Holy Spirit.
I finally gave up. I concluded that God has not answered that
question anywhere in the Bible. The mutual relationship of the
Holy Spirit and the human personality in the work of
sanctification is a mystery known only to God. But our inability
to explain just how God works in and through our personalities
should not keep us from believing that He does. He not only
instructs us to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and
trembling,” but also assures us that He Himself “works in [us]
to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Php 2:12-note;
Although God has not explained to us the mystery of how He works
in us, He has made our responsibility clear. He has also made it
clear that, in carrying out that responsibility, we are
dependent upon Him. I call this dependent discipline.
The word discipline sums up
our responsibility to grow in holiness. The qualifying word
dependent emphasizes our need for God’s work in all that we do.
Apart from Him, we can do nothing (Jn15:5). What, then, are our
responsibilities for growing in holiness?
Let’s look at four words that
I believe summarize our responsibilities: renewing, watching,
choosing, and praying.
RENEWING OUR MINDS: Paul tells us that we are to be
transformed by the renewing of our minds (Ro 12:2-note).
He is not talking of a mere acquisition of information. He is
talking about a fundamental change in our values. Nevertheless,
in order to change our values we must know what God’s values
are, and this does mean we must acquire new information, In
Titus1:1, Paul writes that “the knowledge of the truth . . .
leads to godliness.” We must know the truth about sin and
righteousness before we can hate the one and love the other. Our
hearts cannot love or hate what our minds know nothing about.
To gain “the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness” we
must diligently study the Word of God. Although there are many
different methods of Bible study, all of them require diligence
for synopsis of the most profitable Bible study methods --
Inductive Bible Study).
We are to “look for [the truth of God’s Word] as for silver and
search for it as for hidden treasure” (Pr 2:4). No Christian who
treats the Word of God with casual indifference or approaches it
only sporadically and haphazardly will progress much in
holiness. We are transformed by the Holy Spirit, but He does
this as our minds are renewed by His Word. Not only must we
study God’s Word, we must also hide it in our hearts. (Click
for discussion of Biblical Meditation,
Click for a "Primer of Biblical
Meditation") The psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my
heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). The word
hidden conveys the thought of storing something up against a
time of future need. We do this by meditating continually on
God’s Word, by constantly thinking about it, and by applying its
truths to the everyday situations of life. I personally have
found a systematic Scripture memorization program to be
absolutely necessary to continual meditation on God’s Word. I
cannot think throughout the day about what I do not have in my
TEMPTATION: Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will
not fall into temptation” (Mt 26:41). This is another area
of discipline. It is something we must do. We must continually
watch, or guard, against temptation. We must guard against
temptation within ourselves. James wrote, “Each one [of us]
is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and
enticed” (Jas 1:14-note).
We must face the fact that evil desire lurks in our hearts. It
searches constantly for occasions to express itself.
Evil desire comes in many forms. We often think of grosser
desires like lust, but there are other, more subtle, ones: the
acquisitive urge always to have the latest gadgetry; the feeling
that we always need one more outfit to complete our wardrobe;
the compulsion to “win” in all our relationships; the will to
intimidate or manipulate other people. Watching against
temptation from within ourselves requires honest, humble
self-examination to learn what particular evil desires hide in
our hearts and when and how we are most vulnerable to them.
We must also guard against temptations that come from the world
around us. As our minds are renewed and our values changed, we
begin to recognize temptations from our environment that we
didn’t notice before. But we must make conscious decisions to
keep from falling into those temptations.
I once became aware that my favorite news magazine always ran
several articles calculated to appeal to unhealthy sexual
interests and that I always read those articles. Conscious
decision for me was to cancel my subscription. Someone else,
tempted to live beyond his means through the “just say charge
it” credit card philosophy, might need to cancel his credit
cards. “The prudent see danger and take refuge,” Solomon said,
“but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Pr
person pursuing holiness must be prudent. He must watch for the
moral danger of temptations. Most of us know our areas of
vulnerability; we should take special precautions to guard
against temptations in them.
CHOOSING OBEDIENCE: In
The Freedom of Obedience Martha Thatcher writes of practicing
obedience one step at a time. Our daily lives contain a constant
stream of moral choices that are made one at a time. Some
choices can be made deliberately and with reflection; others
must be made spontaneously and instantly. But whether
deliberately or spontaneously, we are choosing all day long,
every day. Someone sends you an angry letter, unjustly
criticizing you. You choose to respond in kind or to be gracious
and forgiving. The cashier at a restaurant gives you ten dollars
too much change. You choose to keep it or to give it back. We
choose to tell the truth or to lie, to forgive or to harbor
anger and resentment, to entertain lustful thoughts and looks or
to refuse them. We choose to respond to opportunities to show
compassion and care for others or to ignore them in favor of our
own interests. Choices like these, made over time, develop our
character in one direction or the other.
In 2Pe 2:14
Peter writes of false teachers who “are experts in greed.”
Another Bible version says they have hearts “trained in greed”
(NASB). The word trained could also be rendered “disciplined.”
These false teachers had disciplined themselves in greediness
until they were trained in it—experts in greed. They were
disciplined, all right, but in the wrong direction. How had they
become experts? One choice at a time. God wants us to be experts
in purity, experts in honesty, experts in compassion and
forgiveness. How will we become such experts? One choice at a
founder of The Navigators, used to say, “You are going to be
what you are now becoming.” The choices we make each day
determine the person we will be in the future.
PRAYING FOR HOLINESS: (Other related resources:
Praying His Word, Spurgeon's
Gems on Prayer) Prayer is not
the last in a series of four disciplines but a necessary
companion to each of the other three. We are to pray for God to
renew our minds as we study the Bible and meditate on its
truths. We are to “call out for insight and cry aloud for
understanding” (Pr 2:3). We should pray not only for
understanding of the truth in our minds but also for the rooting
and building of biblical convictions in our hearts. We should
pray that God will make us alert as we watch for internal sinful
desires and external temptations to which we are vulnerable. We
need to ask God to reveal to us matters in which we are not
living according to the truth. And we should pray to God for
strength to choose right, to say no to temptation and yes to His
will. We should pray that He will change our deeply rooted
desires so that we will, like Jesus, love righteousness and hate
wickedness. We cannot effectively renew our minds through God’s
Word, watch against temptation, or choose what is right without
the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. We must be faithful in
these disciplines, but we can only be effective in them as the
Spirit both enables us and blesses our efforts.
Prayer for holiness should be of two kinds. First, we must have
daily, persistent, persevering prayer asking God to enable us
and to bless us in our discipline. We should pray daily about
the areas of sin where we are especially vulnerable, whether
they involve doing things we should not do or failing to do
things we should do, or even harboring sinful attitudes like
resentment, self-pity, or covetousness. Then we should develop
the habit of short, spontaneous prayers throughout the day when
ever we must make choices. A brief “Lord, help me,” uttered
silently in the very face of temptation, is an acknowledgement
of our dependence on the Holy Spirit to supply the power to
resist temptation and choose His will.
FINAL DEPENDENCE: As successful as we may be in the
needed disciplines, however, we must not think that the
disciplines themselves make us more like Christ. That is the
work of the Holy Spirit. Only He can produce spiritual growth in
us. Consider a farmer and his crops. There are certain
“disciplines,” or tasks, he must do. He must plow, plant,
fertilize, and cultivate. In some areas, he must irrigate. But
he cannot make the seed germinate and grow. Only God can do
that. The farmer, whether he recognizes it or not, depends on
God both for the physical and mental ability to do his tasks and
for the capital to buy his supplies and equipment. And he
obviously depends on God for the growth of his crops. In the
same way, the Christian depends on God to enable him to perform
his disciplines. But the performance of the disciplines does not
itself produce spiritual growth. Only God can do that. Growth in
holiness, then, is not a matter of personal discipline plus
God’s work. It is a matter of dependent discipline, of
recognizing that we are dependent on God to enable us to do what
we are responsible to do. Then it is a recognition that even
when we have performed our duties, we must still look to Him to
produce the growth. “So neither he who plants nor he who
waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow”
(1Co 3:7). (Jerry Bridges - Bolding and Links added)
Believing God -Mark
11:22; John 14:11,12
Fearing God -Ecclesiastes 12:13; 1 Peter 2:17
Loving God -Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37
Following God -Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 1:15,16
Obeying God -Luke 1:6; 1 John 5:3
Rejoicing in God -Psalms 33:1; Habakkuk 3:18
Believing in Christ -John 6:29; 1 John 3:23
Loving Christ -John 21:15; 1 Peter 1:7,8
Following the example of Christ -John 13:15; 1 Peter
Obeying Christ -John 14:21; 15:14
To Christ -Romans 14:8; 2 Corinthians 5:15
To righteousness -Micah 6:8; Romans 6:18; 1 Peter 2:24
Soberly, righteously, and godly -Titus 2:12
Honestly -1 Thessalonians 4:12
Worthy of God -1 Thessalonians 2:12
Worthy of the Lord -Colossians 1:10
In the Spirit -Galatians 5:25
After the Spirit -Romans 8:1
In newness of life -Romans 6:4
Worthy of vocation -Ephesians 4:1
As children of light -Ephesians 5:8
Rejoicing in Christ -Philippians 3:1; 4:4
Loving one another -Jn 15:12; Ro 12:10; 1Co 13:1-13; Ep
5:2; He 13:1
Striving for the faith -Philippians 1:27; Jude 1:3
Putting away all sin -1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 12:1
Abstaining from all appearance of evil -1 Thessalonians
Perfecting holiness -Matthew 5:48; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2
Hating defilement -Jude 1:23
Following after that which is good -Philippians 4:8; 1Th
5:15; 1Ti 6:11
Overcoming the world -1 John 5:4,5
Adorning the gospel -Matthew 5:16; Titus 2:10
Showing a good example 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12;
Abounding in the work of the Lord -1Co 15:58; 2Co 8:7;
Shunning the wicked -Psalms 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6
Controlling the body -1 Corinthians 9:27; Colossians 3:5
Subduing the temper -Ephesians 4:26; James 1:19
Submitting to injuries -Matthew 5:39-41; 1 Corinthians
Forgiving injuries -Matthew 6:14; Romans 12:20
Living peaceably with all -Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14
Visiting the afflicted -Matthew 25:36; James 1:27
Doing as we would be done by -Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31
Sympathising with others -Galatians 6:2; 1 Thessalonians
Honouring others -Psalms 15:4; Romans 12:10
Fulfilling domestic duties -Ephesians 6:1-8; 1 Peter
Submitting to Authorities -Romans 13:1-7
Being liberal to others -Acts 20:35; Romans 12:13
Being contented -Philippians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5
Blessedness of maintaining -Ps 1:1-3; 19:9-11; 50:23; Mt
5:3-12; Jn 15:10; 7:17